Brexit: Time to end UK live exports

Sheep looking out of truck

The clock is now ticking for Brexit. It’s also ticking on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ban the live export of UK farm animals.

For decades, successive British governments have blamed EU free trade law for their failure to ban this abhorrent trade. Now, at last, they are out of excuses.

Please make a donation to help end factory farm cruelty and stop live exports, once and for all. It’s time to act for farm animals!

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In 2015, tens of thousands of farm animals from the UK were forced to endure drawn-out journeys to destinations including France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, at risk of severe dehydration, malnutrition and stress.

Calf immune systems are not designed to cope with this prolonged transport, so sickness and death are common. What is more, existing EU law on animal welfare during transit, and at slaughter, is poorly enforced or disregarded completely.

Compassion supporters have helped push live exports to the margins of British farming – your gift today can help stop this trade for once and for all.

Donate today

There is an alternative for British farmers: If cattle, sheep and pigs are raised and slaughtered close to where they are born, this can reduce the cost to farmers for transit. It can be up to four times more expensive to export an animal compared to exporting their meat.

Earlier this year, the government admitted that it holds the future of live exports in its hands:


While we are in the EU, it would be against free movement rules to place an ethical ban on the export of live animals, but once we leave the European Union, we will be free to do so, if that is the decision of the UK Government; there will be nothing to stand in our way…

George Eustice, Farming Minister

live veal calf exportation

So, the end is in sight. But how will we persuade the next government to act?

  • We will use media coverage, online campaigning, and events to galvanise a public movement as quickly as possible: culminating in a day of action on 13th September.
  • Once the new government is in place, we will engage with key officials and persuade them to use their power to ensure there is only one future for UK live exports: no future at all.
  • We will work with farmers to prove a ban won’t damage the farming industry, but instead protect and strengthen UK animal welfare standards, increasing global respect and demand for British products.
  • We will provide passionate activists with the help they need to launch local campaigns, demonstrations and media coverage, persuading MPs and officials to give our farm animals the protection they so desperately need.

Make a donation today

We’ve come so far – let’s end this now

1973 Britain joined the European Economic Community, which was later absorbed into the European Union.

1977 The first EU legislation on animal welfare in transit is implemented.

1990 2.5 million British farm animals are exported for breeding, fattening or slaughter.

Compassion supporters campaign in shoreham

1994 Thanks to campaigning by local activists and Compassion supporters, passenger ferries from Britain stop exporting live animals for fattening or slaughter.

1996 EU imposes a worldwide ban on the live export of cattle from the UK due to the ‘Mad Cow Disease’ outbreak. The ban lasts until 2006.

2006 Compassion and the RSPCA launch a major project with the dairy industry. This helps to slash the export of male dairy calves by 90% between 2006 and 2012.

2010 Transport ship MV Joline starts exporting animals from Dover. Shipments later move to Ramsgate, before returning to Dover in 2013.

2012 Three sheep drown and 43 are euthanised following at incident with a defective transport truck at Ramsgate. Thanet District Council places a ban on live exports, but the High Court forces Ramsgate Port to reopen to the trade.

2015 Tens of thousands of UK farm animals are exported from the UK. A massive reduction since the 1990s, but we want to reduce it to zero.


I’m sure you’ll recognise the importance of standing up for farm animals at this crucial moment in UK history, and we are truly grateful for your support.

Make a donation today

live veal calf exportation
Joanna Lumley

"Compassion in World Farming has done an amazing job in achieving real changes for millions of farm animals."

Joanna Lumley OBE


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